Libya: Shrinking civic space impacts support for torture victims

Tunis, 26 June 2023 – On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the Libyan Anti-torture Network (LAN) strongly condemn the Libyan authorities' severe repression of civil society. Intensified repression has dramatically hampered the critical mission of civil society organisations and human rights defenders to document cases of torture and provide support to survivors.

In a context where the government is failing its responsibilities to protect people, Libyan grassroot organisations have become a lifeline for vulnerable communities and victims of human rights violations. They work tirelessly to provide crucial assistance in a time of persistent political and military instability.

Unfortunately, the Libyan government continues to conceal information about systemic abuses, denying the existence of these practices and refusing to hold perpetrators accountable. This climate of impunity for torture prevails, especially as the perpetrators are often enough affiliated with the State, while civil society organisations and human rights defenders face intimidation and reprisals.

In order to meet its international obligations and support the rule of law, the Libyan State must guarantee a safe environment for civilian activism. Preserving the independence of Libyan civil society is crucial to providing the necessary support to victims of torture and their families.

The OMCT and LAN urge the Libyan authorities to undertake comprehensive reforms, including the removal of laws that hinder civil society, the protection of human rights defenders, the documentation of torture and war crimes, the implementation of judicial reforms, and accountability for abusers.

Read the full statement in English and in Arabic